Light, light, light.


I was beginning to feel like I had hit a wall with my photography…especially with the last photo shoot I did up in Woodland with the pin ups.  I really felt the need to branch out of my natural light comfort zone and head into the “artificial” light, so to speak. Plus, I want to open a studio in my house and I would love to add studio style portraits to my repertoire.

So, I invested in some pocket wizards and a couple of Elinchrom strobes to try out.  I got my pocket wizards I tried it out with my Canon flash – off camera with John Evans who is the chef and owner of Zachary Jacques Restaurant in Placerville.  I had to take an environmental portrait for my Portrait and Wedding Photography class that used off camera lighting to light the subject but also showed ambient lighting behind the subject.  I had to do this really, really quick because his restaurant was about to open for the evening.  So, I positioned my husband to camera right with the flash and the pocket wizard.  I took a couple of test shots and then I took this one just as the first customer was walking in the door.  I got some ambient lighting, you can see that there is a restaurant in the background, but it could have been better.  At any rate, I think his photo turned out pretty well.

The next day I got my two new strobes and light boxes.  I can’t tell you how hard it was to figure out how to put the stupid light boxes together.  I finally got the larger one on the strobe and began to look for my first victim.  I tried a few practice shots with my husband but he was busy cooking, and I didn’t want to bother him.  Then my daughter showed up and she’s always a good sport.  So, I snapped this shot.  This will give you a good idea of the type of cool catchlights (the little lights in her eyes) that you can get with softboxes.    My softbox is actually rectangular, but because I have it set at an angle to her face, it gives the catchlight a funky shaped light.  Perfect.


Yesterday my oldest son and his girlfriend came up for dinner, so I dragged my softbox out and they wanted to see what was so cool about it.  Their eyes began to glaze over as I discussed the possibilities, so I snapped a picture instead.


Now, I love the light in their eyes on this photo.  I’m not overly crazy about the pose, but they are so cute…I couldn’t resist.  They are coming over on Thursday with her little boy to help me out with another school assignment and be the first ones to help me try out my new studio arrangement.  (I even have a cool new backdrop system to use.)

Here’s a photo I took of my youngest son with my older continuous studio lights, which use brellas to soften the light.  I really like this photo, so I guess I’m not ready to give up my old, non-strobe lights.  The color of the light is much different than the strobes and the catchlights are round due to the use of umbrellas.


Hint:  to make sure your photos of people have some “life” to it…make sure they have those little catchlights in both of their eyes.  That goes for pets, too.  Actually pets look kinda scary unless they have catchlights in their eyes.  You can get catchlights by making sure they are facing a window or lamp or something that puts off light besides the sun (it will cause them to squint) or direct flash (little annoying pin point light in their eyes.)

Thanks to all my kids.

Now…I’m on the hunt for new victims.

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  • March 16, 2009 - 4:55 pm

    Lesley - I love all your photos. I think the one of the chef turned out really well! I like getting your little photography hints, and never knew about catch lights till now.

  • March 16, 2009 - 8:31 pm

    Teresa K - Nice work…good to see you stretching out of your comfort zone…it’s the best way to grow!

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